Current and novel approaches in influenza management

Influenza is a disease that poses a significant health burden worldwide. Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza virus infections. However, conventional vaccines are only effective for a short period of time due to the propensity of influenza viruses to undergo antigenic drift and antigenic shift. The efficacy of these vaccines is uncertain from year-to-year due to potential mismatch between the circulating viruses and vaccine strains, and mutations arising due to egg adaptation. Subsequently, the inability to store these vaccines long-term and vaccine shortages are challenges that need to be overcome. Conventional vaccines also have variable efficacies for certain populations, including the young, old, and immunocompromised. This warrants for diverse efficacious vaccine developmental approaches, involving both active and passive immunization. As opposed to active immunization platforms (requiring the use of whole or portions of pathogens as vaccines), the rapidly developing passive immunization involves administration of either pathogen-specific or broadly acting antibodies against a kind or class of pathogens as a treatment to corresponding acute infection. Several antibodies with broadly acting capacities have been discovered that may serve as means to suppress influenza viral infection and allow the process of natural immunity to engage opsonized pathogens whilst boosting immune system by antibody-dependent mechanisms that bridge the innate and adaptive arms. By that; passive immunotherapeutics approach assumes a robust tool that could aid control of influenza viruses. In this review, we comment on some improvements in influenza management and promising vaccine development platforms with an emphasis on the protective capacity of passive immunotherapeutics especially when coupled with the use of antivirals in the management of influenza infection.

Trim content

® The Pirbright Institute 2020 | A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 559784. The Institute is also a registered charity.